LeDuff responds to Bing's charge of reporting a 'false' story - FOX 35 News Orlando

LeDuff responds to Bing's charge of reporting a 'blatantly false' story

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By Charlie LeDuff
FOX 2 News Reporter

DETROIT -- You might have caught a little story we did last week about a paramedic who has been brought up on charges after giving an old man a blanket.  Well after days and days, city hall finally issued a statement to everybody in the media but me calling the story "blatantly false".

"I got notified that I'll be brought up on EMS departmental charges," Detroit medic Jeff Gaglio told us.

So the statement from the mayor's office says that the paramedic was identified as giving a blanket to the fire victim.  We said that.

"I'm being punished for giving a man a blanket.  Something that would seem like a common, everyday courtesy, something that any man or woman would do in the City of Detroit, give a freezing man a blanket.  I'm being punished for it," Gaglio said.

Isn't that what the guy's charging documents say?  Specifically violation of 5.15 -- loaning, selling or giving away departmental property.

"We can't have an employee who feels that they have a right to give away state property, be it donated, be it a blanket, be it a tire off a vehicle, without getting prior approval from somebody or notifying the proper authority.  This is what he did and why he did it," said Detroit EMS Chief Jerald James said last week.

So far so good, so what's the beef?  We called Bob Warfield, the mayor's communications director who sent out the email blast, and asked several questions.  He said he would call me back.

"It can't be about a blanket," said Rep. Rashida Tlaib.  "It has to be more than that."

"We can't allow people to die in their homes because we're not providing EMS services.  It's ridiculous.  We need to figure out a solution, and I'm tired of waiting.  I think everybody in the City of Detroit's tired of waiting for people to make decisions that are right for them."

"The average citizen, the biggest problem they need to worry about is getting an ambulance that's going to function coming to their house," said Joe Barney, president of Detroit's EMS union.

Well, there's only two things to say here.  One, we stand by our story.  Two, fire headquarters and city hall ought to concentrate on the broken down rigs, 911 that doesn't work, response times that are deadly and fraud and mismanagement in the fire department.

The following is the statement the mayor's office sent to the media:

A recent Fox2 Detroit report that a Detroit paramedic, Jeff Gaglio, was suspended for giving an elderly fire victim a blanket is blatantly false, Detroit Fire Commissioner Don Austin said today.
"This story was totally blown out of proportion because the reporter took portions of his interview with Detroit EMS Chief Jerald James out of context," Commissioner Austin said.
When a Detroit EMS crew reported one blanket missing from an ambulance during a routine equipment check, Mr. Gaglio was identified as giving the blanket to a fire victim. EMS officials encourage staff paramedics to provide blankets, medical aid and comfort to emergency victims as needed.  However, Mr. Gaglio expressed resentment over being asked to write a report on his action, although that is standard procedure.  The only reprimand Mr. Gaglio has received involves his failure to inform his supervisor after the fact.
Jeff Gaglio has been ordered to attend an administrative hearing with his union representative to address work performance issues that are totally unrelated to giving a blanket to an elderly man.  Mr. Gaglio has not been suspended, and at this time, there are no plans to suspend him.

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